Sunday, February 7, 2016

Along came Karen...

As I laid in bed last night trying to fall asleep, a thought entered my mind that immediately made me bust out laughing! Kind of unusual for a man sleeping alone. I'll try to pass that thought on to you. Do not try this at home!

The year was 1958 and I was 12 years old. My parents, not loaded with money, decided that in order for me to accomplish my Bar Mitzvah at age 13, they'd better send me to Hebrew school to at least learn the letters of the Hebrew language prior to that event, although it turned out not to be necessary. But it did expand my life to more than baseball, football and basketball, which were the grand total of my interests. I remember being older than all of the other kids in my beginners class which made it pretty uncomfortable for me, but minding my own business helped a lot. After class, we went out to a playground to wait for our respective rides home, either parents or a van that drove me, as my mother didn't drive. Standing around waiting for my van to pick us up, I noticed a girl chatting with her friends and there was an immediate magnetism. My first attraction! I didn't know what it was, but I couldn't take my eyes off of her and didn't know why. Eventually I walked over and said, hello. Her name was Karen Feldman and I soon learned that her father was the president of the temples men's club and remember a short stout man off in the distance that she pointed to. Aha, royalty! I realized that I really liked Karen and waited for her after class daily. She was 10 and I was 12, but she was very mature for her age. We exchanged telephone numbers and I made dates with her to meet her at the school on days when we didn't have class, like Saturday afternoons and Sundays. We'd go to Sam and Hy's and split an order of fries and a chocolate phosphate and listen to the waitress that knew both of our families tease us. We were an item!

One Saturday afternoon we made a date to go to the movies in downtown Evanston and took the bus there. Karen brought her birth certificate along to prove her age of 10 years, so she could get into the movie for the child's price of 25 cents to save me money. Being 12, mine was 50 Cents. After, when I was taking her home, she gave me a kiss on my cheek and I literally floated all of the way home. After putting up with that long story, you are now entitled to the part that literally broke me up last night, when the thought passed through my aged mind. It was a late Saturday afternoon and it was summer. Karen and I were hanging out on the teeter-tauter, but we were weren't using it the way it was designed to be used. We were laying on two of them, next to one another with our respective feet on the handles and laying backwards on them just chatting away. One of the things that's cool to do when you're 12 is to hock up a loogie from deep in your throat and spit it as far as you can. So I did precisely that, but I didn't allow for the strong wind that was blowing rather aggressively towards us. This baby was a real winner, I mean huge! I let her fly while lying back on the inclined board, when suddenly panic struck! I let go of that loogie and realized it was coming right back down at me and likely to hit me right across my face! It did!!! I crashed to the ground, rubbing my face in the nearby grass with Karen asking me, what's wrong? Oh, nothing I said, just got something in my eye! 

I don't think I ever saw Karen again. It became fall and school began and I dropped out of Hebrew School to begin my Bar Mitzvah lessons.

And that's how I finally learned to be cool!